The English owner of the Abbaye de la Bussière hotel in Burgundy has spoken of his delight at gaining a Michelin star in the face of organised protests from locals.
Clive Cummings, who along with wife Tanith bought the property in April 2005, said the award in the new Michelin France guide was reward for his team's hard work in overcoming numerous challenges.
Opposition to the sale of the abbey - a 12th-century building trading as a spiritual retreat - was so deep-rooted that an organisation called Sauver la Bussière was set up to try to get the sale revoked.
But despite numerous press articles, television and radio coverage and a petition of more than 3,000 signatures, the €2.25m (£1.53m) sale went through. Less than two years later the abbey has been awarded its first star.
"This is great news for the team, particularly 27-year-old chef, Olivier Elzer," Cummings told Caterer. "Every day has been like banging my head against a brick wall, but it now feels like we are getting there."
Cummings, the son of Martin and Joy Cummings, the proprietors of Amberley Castle in West Sussex, expects the abbey - in which he has invested €5m (£3.4m)- to break even by the end of the year.